The Best Toddler Activity Is NO Activity

toddler activities
Totally Okay Entertaining Themselves
It happened again. I was set to start my work day when a snotty, feverish toddler and random teacher development day at the kindergarten meant my previously scheduled adult activities were simply not going to happen. Usually when this happens, I panic, and then work something out so my husband and I can alternate work with child care. Did I mention on this particular day my husband was a couple thousand feet in the air headed to the other side of the country?

Needless to say, I was on my own. Fresh off a long holiday weekend, I had already exhausted all of my fabulous "planned" toddler and big kid activities, so I threw up my hands and declared that my children would be on their own. As I bent over my keyboard, I awaited the howls of, "There's nothing to doooooo," followed by, "He's touching me!!!" Yet, they never came.


Instead, my kids and I wound up having the best day ever, simply by not planning a dang thing. While I worked, they figured out ways to entertain themselves (who knew?). I managed to finish my work without anyone asking me when we were going to go to the park/Universal City Walk/the movies 58 times. That, my friends, was a first.

Because my previous work/mom days that promise big adventures "as soon as mommy is finished with work" mean that while I'm trying to concentrate, the kids only have that super fun activity on their brains and cannot focus on anything else at all. So every five minutes the kids are checking in on me and my work. Yet, when I told them to take care of themselves, well, they actually DID IT. Shocking.

The end result was I worked uninterrupted (with the occasional break for lap-sitting and cheddar bunny fetching), and once I was finished, we could all hang out together in an unhurried manner. Kind of amazing, and magical.

Which is why I'm assuming this will never, ever, ever happen again. Still, it's worth a shot to under-plan to the point of forcing the little ones to find their own fun. And I'll do it again, hopefully with the same result. But I'll have an exit strategy in my back pocket -- just in case.

How do you handle an unexpected work day with kids?

Read More >